sexual abuse

All posts tagged sexual abuse

Published June 1, 2018 by Chloe Madison

“The unknown distance to the great beyond

Stares back at my grieving frame”

My God, I have been struck by massive headaches lately. Some have been full on migraines, others just close to migraines. Today, yesterday, the day before, the day before that, it goes on and on.

I even left the house to run an errand, thinking if I got up and moving, my headache would subside. It got so much worse, that I had to turn around and go back home. Ridiculous.

I don’t know what’s causing this- perhaps the stress of moving? Other than that and dealing with the young girl who was raped and continuing to deal with my own stupid stuff, that’s the only stress I have at the moment.

I’m in for a big life change with this move. It will turn my budget upside down and a lot of things are going to change. But I’m so ready for change- any kind of change. If I could literally go to the moon, I would. It wouldn’t be far enough away from this place. So as stressful as the move might be, I’m actually really looking forward to it. It’s a ton more money and a lot less pretty and a lot smaller, but I’m ok with that. I truly feel it’s in a safe place and I really, really need that.

I dreamed last night that my rapist who lives here was at my front door. I freaked out and ran around the house, closing blinds and locking things down and cowering down in an anxiety ridden mess. It was terrible…but honestly, this dream wasn’t nearly as bad as others. I think it shows how vulnerable I feel- that I don’t feel safe and that I feel anyone can do me harm and intrude upon where I live. Everyone has a right- a basic human right- to feel safe where they live.

I often wonder how long this crap will last. I am so sick of this. I remember when I was healed and thought I could handle anything life threw at me with God, my Father, on my side. And now…

Now…

Ugh. I just don’t know anymore. I don’t trust him and tears stream down my face as I write this. I feel so guilty about saying that. But it’s the truth of where I am.

I struggle with this every day, practically all day and all night long. I talk to God and pray…but I doubt him and his intentions. I doubt his goodness. I doubt his trustworthiness. And I doubt my own ability to carry on.

My church is doing this thing where they want to “hear people’s stories” and for a second, I thought it would be a great place for me to share. But they’re doing it so others can learn and be inspired by peoples’ successes and how God has moved in their lives. So that cuts me out. That isn’t the place for me to share. I’m not a success and I’m struggling so much with God that no one would be “inspired.” And that’s ok. I know I’m in a tough place with God. I hope he doesn’t give up on me like everyone else has. 😓

My church and my job are the only things not about to change in my life. Actually, my job just did change. A full-time position is called a 1.0. So if you’re 0.8 or less, you work part time. Since I was hired there, I worked a 1.2, which is a full time position and then some. For the last 2 years, I worked a 1.4. That’s practically unheard of. I think I was only able to do it because I have no family, no friends, and no social life here. I needed that 1.4 with this move. It was such good extra money and I needed it so badly to pay down debt. I was told a few weeks ago that I would be down to a 1.2 again. Argh!!! I really need that money. This is part of what will make my budget super tight in the future. So I guess even my job is changing…I will have less work. And honestly, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Being able to busy myself with my job has been important to keep my mind occupied.

Ok. So I guess my church will be the only thing not changing for me. And this is good because my church is amaze balls. Even though I shy away from talking to people there, I absolutely love the people there. And I have a phenomenal pastor who is so gifted at preaching- it’s unreal.

I just don’t know how long I can hang in with this shit swirling in my head. I’m trying to focus on others- on being an encouragement to other people. I’ve been talking a lot with the young girl whose uncle molested and raped her and with her friend, who was raped a few weeks ago. I’m checking in on both of them and encouraging both of them and letting them know I’m cheerleading for them and believe in them. I’ve got their back. I know I would have loved to hear that. So I’m trying to focus on being a positive force in peoples’ lives…but even then, I feel like a failure.

I think often – every single day- of my friends who abandoned me. I wonder what it was about me that they didn’t like. Was I too needy? Not nice enough? Not caring or loving or supportive enough? It makes me so, so scared to lose more friends. I mean, I barely have any to begin with. I wish people could be more understanding. Why throw me away? Why not talk to me? It makes me feel like trash that is discarded. And I already felt that way from the men in my life who used me and cast me aside.

I feel…and I worry…that I’m too needy. I need people. I need support. And everyone has quit on me. Every. Single. Person. It’s not their fault…it’s mine. And this is part of what makes me so angry at God. And here come the tears again. Will I be this much of a mess forever? I feel like this is not my fault. I didn’t ask for my father to sexually abuse me. I didn’t ask to get raped and molested by others. I didn’t ask for my mother and grandmother to cover up everything and protect my abuser. I didn’t ask for a fiancé who degraded me and cheated on me. It’s not my fault that I’m so fucked up. But this is what tires people and chases them away. I guess I can see that people can only deal with so much- they have their own lives and their own issues. And this is why I stand here alone. I’ve always said that and it’s because it’s true. No one is strong enough to stand by your side forever.

So it brings me right back to the same question- how long will this fucking shit last?? I can’t take this forever. I’m hanging in by a thread, carrying on as if I were normal…and I can barely do it. I absolutely cannot take this for much longer. I can’t be this fucked up forever. There is no way in hell I can do this much longer. I’ve got to get better. I cannot go through the rest of life like this. I just can’t. I don’t have the strength or the energy.

“I feel my faded mind begin to roam”

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Published April 23, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Couldn’t sleep last night. Went to church, but I couldn’t tell you right now what the sermon was about. My mind is whirling with the precarious situation at work. Please, please pray for that situation to work out as well as possible.

I was shocked today- had a little tiny bit of a start on my monthly visitor. Haven’t had it since I was in the hospital- that’s six months now! I’m still super confused as to why it stopped and now, why it’s starting again. I always thought it was a side effect of the medicine, but with the recent increase in dosage, it would make more sense if it continued in ceasing, no? Part of me thinks it’s just a side effect, part of me worries about what the doc thought (that I was premenopausal), part of me thinks it stopped from the massive and overwhelming stress of being hospitalized, part of me worries there’s something else wrong. That’s why the med doc tried to get me to see the vajayjay doctor. I just can’t though. I can’t handle any other stressor at this point. As much as I don’t want to deal with it, it gave me a little glimmer of hope of possibly having children in the future. I don’t see how that’s even remotely possible…but I can always dream. Right? Worse case scenario- I get disappointed. Been there, done that.

I’m watching this TV show called “Long Lost Family” that reunites people with their birth parents who had given them up for adoption. It reminds me of the time I set out to find out who my real grandfather was. I’d always been told my dad was adopted. My grandmother who betrayed me and my uncle was their real mother, but my dad’s father wasn’t in the picture. I found the family, but I was too late- my real grandfather had already passed away. And then I think of my own children who I aborted.

My God, I had such a hard time even typing that word. I will never forgive myself for never giving them a chance. The first time it wasn’t my choice- I wanted to keep my baby. My mom refused to let me. It was devastating. But I was a teenager and didn’t know how to fight back with my own mother. For that matter, I still don’t know how to stand up for myself and fight for what’s right. The second time, I was raped. And alone. And he was of a different race. And I thought my baby would look like him and I’d be looking into my rapist’s face every time I looked at my child. And I had this irrational fear he’d want visitation rights so I thought I’d have to see him all the time. And I questioned myself- what do I tell my child about their father? Do I lie and make something up? Do I tell the truth and tell them their father is a rapist?

And look at me. My father was a sexual predator and look how fucked up I am. I would never want to do that to a child. Never. Never. Never. It’s not fair. What if they’re like my uncle and myself and they never recover from it? What if they can’t handle it?

I’m watching these people on this show reuniting with their grown children and I realize I should have given my children that opportunity. But I didn’t. I’ve done a lot of fucked up things in this lifetime, but that stands as the worst. I can never forgive myself for that. And I understand God doesn’t want to either.

I’m certain that’s why he won’t give me children now. He already gave me my chance with children. I did the worst possible thing you can do- and God doesn’t trust me now. I wouldn’t trust me either.

I see these people in the show cry and meet up and get through things. They’re forgiving and generous and kind. And I wonder what’s wrong with me- why can’t I be as healthy? It makes me see that there’s something wrong with me- that I can’t accept my dad was a sexual predator, that I can’t move on from that, that I’m alone and will probably be forever because I just cannot trust a man and know there are so few men who are actually safe, that I’m not meant to have children or a family…and tears fill my eyes and stream down my face as I write this.

This is my life.

And it’s not worth living. I’ve fucked up beyond repair, beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness and grace- not that he can’t, but he won’t. He’s mad and has every right to be.

I’ve messed up in life, I’ve messed up in work- and that was the only thing I had where I felt needed and used by God. The only thing. It gave me a tiny sense of purpose. And I’ve messed it all up.

Published March 18, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Oph. Nightmares have been unreal. And unrelenting. Last night I had several. The most notable was when a friend killed me. The killer’s face in my dream actually kept switching back and forth between two different people, both friends of mine. At one point, my friend/ the killer was threatening my life. I retorted with the fact that he should go ahead- he’d be doing me a favor. Smh.

I’m not quite sure why the last 2 days have been so difficult. My sleep has been so interrupted and when I do sleep, it’s nothing but nightmares. I’ve been overly emotional these last few days as well. When I was hiking this weekend, I kept breaking down crying. Hiking and crying doesn’t mix. I’m not gonna lie. I thought of ***** and ***** quite a bit out there.

These last two weeks have actually been GOOD. I was beginning to get hopeful that I was on my way out of this dark mire. But now I’m not so sure. I keep wanting to stay away from people and keep them away from me. I just want to be left alone and yet I absolutely despise it. I actually hate, hate, hate being alone. It’s just a safe place to recoil to.

Up on the mountain, I was begging God to be with me. He wasn’t. I asked out loud over and over throughout the hours, “God, are you there?” I tried to humor myself by replying to my own question with a sound effect of lightning striking. I thought I was funny. But that didn’t change the fact that I was alone up there.

I don’t know why I cried so much. Both today- during church again- and all day yesterday.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m wrestling with how I view people- and men, in particular.

I know my abusers have been men. Throughout my life, I tried to be normal and be in relationships, but my two most serious relationships ended because I was being cheated on. So I haven’t had the best men in my life- obviously including my own father. And I even think of my grandfather who was a verbally abusive a-hole.

I’ve tried to counteract this and combat it by looking to good men in my life. I think of a teacher I had in high school who I fantasized would marry my mom and be my dad. He was gay and and I chuckle, knowing even back then that my little fantasy would never happen. But I wonder if him being gay is what made him feel so safe. He would never hurt me. Beyond that, he was a gentle, sweet old man. And I love that about him. I was crushed when I ran into him a decade later and he didn’t remember me.

I fondly remember my youth pastors and how awesome they were. They were great examples of Christian men and they were fun and loving and just plain awesome. Then, after my teenage years, I ran into a void of good men. I stopped going to church and didn’t exactly surround myself with the best people. I was involved in the music/ rock scene and saw every single guy use women nonstop for sex. It was unreal. There was even one band I know who have special backstage passes made for girls called “Chicken Head” passes. It’s a lewd reference to girls giving oral sex. I mean, how much more degrading can you get?! And I’d see guys laugh about that.

Then, I started coming back to church. And I came into contact with my former pastor. He’s an amazing man. I love the guy to pieces. He told me he thinks of me as one of his daughters and I loved that. I miss him a lot. He’s the one who said my dad was a monster. But he was a pillar of strength to me and a source of encouragement through long, daily emails for years and years. Both he and his wife are phenomenal people.

And then I moved out of state. It took me several years to find a good church. And almost immediately, I found a guy at that church who was a great, trustworthy person. He’s my 911 friend. I love how he interacts with people and how he cares for and loves his wife and family- and everyone else, for that matter. He’s the most recent person I’ve tried to use as someone to look to as a good example of what a good, Christian man should be like.

My 911 friend kept pushing me to stay with another couple. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t trust the guy. There were stories of him being violent towards his wife when he used to use drugs and I could never fully let that go. It’s disturbing and highly alarming to me if any person has the potential to hurt another when not in self defense. That’s not ok. It never will be. I kept trying to tell myself that this guy is no longer a drug user, that it’s in his past, it’s not who he is anymore. But I still felt threatened. And now, in the last two weeks, I’ve seen him relapse. It’s not his relapse that’s so disturbing. It’s his mistreatment of his wife while he was actually sober. He treated her like dirt and continues to- even when he’s not high. THAT is what I’m struggling with. Of course, I’m worried for his relapse and don’t want him going down that road. But I can’t believe- I’m actually shocked- that his verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse of his wife is coming when he’s sober. I don’t know what to make of that. Part of me feels justified in how I never fully trusted him and this IS EXACTLY why. But part of me feels guilty…that I should be forgiving. He’s not remorseful though. He doesn’t see anything wrong with how he mistreats and “punishes” his wife. And that makes me question why she stays with him. If it were me, I’d dip out in a second. But hey, maybe that’s why I’m not in a relationship. I absolutely cannot handle a man being cruel or abusive in any way, shape, or form. I just can’t do it.

And we…women…shouldn’t have to! Why do women put up with this? Because they love the guy? Because they’re stuck in a marriage and they don’t want to dishonor God by divorcing? Smh. This pisses me off.

And frankly, seeing all this unravel with this guy and his wife has made me lose HUGE amounts of hope in humanity and in men, in general.

And I think that’s part of what’s bothering me so much. It was him in my dream who was killing me. Him and someone else.

And then I have compassion. And I see his demons and how they’re fighting to take over his life. And I know we have the same demons. We’ve both been sexually abused, among other things. I see him relapse and I see that there’s no way out for people like us. There’s no hope for us. We claw and crawl our way up out of the pit, only to be drug right back down again in an instant. This is weighing so heavily on me. We are not in control. Satan is. You can’t fight that. There’s no winning. If God wanted us to get away, he would have done that already. But he hasn’t.

Published March 12, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I’ve had so many sleep disturbances. A few nights ago, I was up about 25 times- no joke. Interestingly, I was able to promptly fall back asleep each time…only to wake up 20 minutes later. The next night, my dog was super sick again and he had me up about every hour to go out. It was the weekend though, so I was glad I could take care of him and not have to worry about sleeping well for work.

I went hiking exhausted. I’m so drawn there. It’s absolutely beautiful- stunning, really. I didn’t take one minute to stop and sit. I should have though. I hiked for hours and hours. The view was incredible:

It was a narrow ridge line. It couldn’t have been more than 150-200 feet across at its widest point. It was a hike straight up…no trails. While driving there, I prayed for people and I’d asked God to be with me that day. I told him that’s all I wanted…for him to be with me.

I was disappointed because I don’t feel he answered that prayer. I encountered one old man up on top for a few seconds. He came out of nowhere and at first, he remarked how he’d never seen another soul up on top of the mountain before. Then he asked me how I got up there. I told him and he ran off. RAN! He was RUNNING the ridge…he had to be in his 70s and he was running the ridge that I was huffing and puffing just walking on. Smh. As I neared the other end of the ridge line, I couldn’t figure out how he got up there. Cliffs were everywhere on all sides. I still don’t know where he came from. I thought I’d pass him again going the other direction, but he disappeared. I joked to myself that it was God making an appearance. But I know it wasn’t.

I listened to the song about God’s relentless love over and over and over again while driving out there. I’m trying so hard to keep a positive attitude.

It’s one thing I noticed with my last EMDR session- was how much I was trying to control what happened in order to keep it positive. Usually, I just let my mind run free, but last time I worked so hard to stay positive. It’s one thing I’m trying to do since being hospitalized. I don’t ever want to go back there again so I’m trying my best. But we didn’t do EMDR last week because she thought I still needed to process more before moving into another session. She thought all the new sleep disturbances, migraines, and nightmares were caused by the last gut- wrenching session. Truthfully, I was scared to go see her last week because I really didn’t want to do it again.

Today I found out that a friend has relapsed. I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that. I offered his wife my place to stay- at least until my lease is up. I don’t think she’ll take me up on it, but in case things get violent, it’s important for her to know she has a place to go and someone to talk to night or day. I’m available 24/7 and she knows that. I just don’t know what else to do besides pray. I feel helpless. I’m so mad at him and yet I’m terrified of the stories I’ve heard about him when he used in the past. But at the same time, I’ll do whatever it takes to be there for his wife and even protect her, if it ever comes to that. He could kill me for all I care. That would be doing me a favor.

I’ve been wondering why I actually had a good week in terms of my mood. I don’t know if it’s meds finally working or prayer or both. And then I look at my friend and see his relapse. He was sexually abused as well. It makes me think there’s no hope for people like us. That’s why I hate that word. It’s bullshit. That song says “there’s no lie you won’t tear down coming after me” and I think of these things I believe. Are they lies or truth? I don’t see God coming after me anymore. At one point I did. Not anymore. God has left the same way that everyone has left. My two friends refusing to be there for me proves that people don’t care about anyone but themselves. People don’t love. People will get sick of your needy ass and will leave you. It happens all the time. No one is there.

I look at my relapsed friend who’s married and has constant companionship and even he struggles. His wife is wonderful and she’s not enough. That tells me that people like us will never get better. There’s no hope for us.

My whole last session was about God being disappointed in me for not having hope in him…about him being mad at me for being such a mess and for not trusting him. I don’t know what to do with that. I ask God to be with me…and then he doesn’t show. I don’t know what to make of it. That’s not lies. That’s the truth. That’s what really happened and keeps happening. All my friends have given up on me. They’ve all left. They tried for a while and got sick of it and bailed. God has left too. He’s sick of my shit and I know it. I feel so terrible about that.

This is all I am. A whole lot of nothing.

Published February 28, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I read something today that struck me:

“Most human decisions are made emotionally. Only 3% of emotional cognition is available consciously.”

I remember someone calling me out on making an emotional, yet grave decision. I also remember being confused, thinking that I had logically thought out each and every avenue. This quote brought me back to that. The same issue had been on my mind. I don’t wonder if I’ll ever recover. I know I won’t. I know I won’t lead a normal life. I know I’m too f***ed up for people to love me. Everyone leaves.

I don’t remember what made me think back today to this last Christmas. But I was remembering how I did every thing in my power to try to make myself happy. I decorated my apartment like there was no tomorrow. I used to LOVE Christmas. It has always been my favorite. But it’s lost its magic. No matter how many strands of lights I put up…

I was still there alone in the quiet.

It doesn’t matter that I got a real tree so I could enjoy the smell of freshly cut pine….

I was still alone with my tree.

That was the last time I saw my roommate. She darted in, wouldn’t make eye contact with me, ignored the tree, said nothing about the plethora of Christmas lights, and tried to dart out without even addressing me. I knew she had been told about my nice little hospital stay. I knew she was shunning me- and has continued to do so- because of it. I feel so…

Judged.

Hated

Shunned

Left out

Ignored

Cast away.

Defeated.

So tonight I was thinking about my old friend, ******* again. And I was thinking how logical it is to me- even though no one else understands. And I thought how I wasn’t being emotional- that this wasn’t an irrational decision.

Ugh. I don’t know. I feel beat down, barraged even… For a second this evening I saw an upside down cross in the way some lights played against the outside of a building. The street lights have stopped going off when I walk under them. Now they turn on. That has to be better. It doesn’t scare me. It just makes me feel like it’s already done. Like the battle has already been won, like there’s no use in fighting. I feel so run down anyway- I don’t feel like fighting anything at all, much less something more powerful.

I’m not giving in. Im just thinking.

I hate that people judge me and stay away from me. I hate that my life is so alone. It’s been 9 years. NINE YEARS. I know many victims of sexual abuse wind up being promiscuous or use sex because they were used for it. For some reason, I went the opposite direction. I’m glad I did. I’d feel a lot shittier about myself if I was promiscuous. But I’m the most closed off person ever when it comes to that. I’ve lost loves over it. My ex-fiancée left me and cheated on me because I didn’t want to have sex until after marriage. He didn’t respect that and he didn’t respect me. He pressured me and mocked me and compared me to all his other girlfriends. That’s BS. I should have left him right then and there. I know I’m lucky that I’m not with him. But I am still alone. STILL. I don’t know when it will end. I don’t think a guy would respect me enough to wait until after marriage. I can blame the culture of our day, but aren’t there Christian guys out there with any ounce of respect any more?? I think it’s like believing in a magic unicorn or something- it just doesn’t exist.

That’s why I feel like it’s foolish to wish for it, wait for it, pray for it. It doesn’t exist. People just aren’t good anymore. Maybe back in the day they were- not any more.

The ONLY living thing I connect with is my dog. And he’s a precious, special one at that. I thank God all the time for him. He means so much to me.

I don’t know where I’ll be living in 4 months. I hate that feeling of uncertainty and having your life up in the air. I’m sick of it actually. It’s been 5+ years of moving and moving and not belonging anywhere. It’s been 9 years of being alone. It’s been a lifetime of not trusting my own family members.

Today I watched a portion of Dr. Phil. It sucked. HARD. There was a girl who had been sexually abused by her dad. She made games out of it- just like I did with my neighbor when I was 9. Her dad had the audacity to blame HER, saying she was not only a willing participant, but tempted him and lured him. Omg, I was torn between throwing up and punching my TV screen. He’s sick. I’m stunned that all these years later, he’s trying to blame her. Unbelievable. I had to turn it off. It literally made me ill.

All these things running through my head…..

Defeated.

Published February 25, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Is there such a thing as spiritual exhaustion? I don’t know how to explain what I’m feeling.

I spent Fri night and all day Sat in a sleeping pill-induced stupor. At least it was slow moving and restful. Today I went to church and for the first time in over a year, I was actually normal. It was so odd! I was ok…I wasn’t scared and intimidated, nor doubting everyone and everything that was said. I was even able to sing from my heart. It felt great. I knew I was a mess, but for a short period of time, I also knew God was good. Until my worship pastor said something about God being a good father…I flinched and immediately felt guilty about my doubt….but what can I do? I sang that song though. And I meant it. I was able to pay attention to my pastor as he preached. Dang, is he talented at what he does. The sermon was very applicable. It was about how we can be so independent that we don’t need help- God’s help. How sometimes our independence gets in the way of us admitting our brokenness and our need for God. He mentioned how we were “designed” to need God. That can explain a lot in our lives. And I was fine for most of the sermon. Then, suddenly and out of nowhere, I started crying again. I can’t even say why. I was just suddenly overwhelmed with an overbearing sadness. It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes and then it left. And I felt normal again and was even able to pay attention again. I don’t know what that was. But today in church was one of the better Sundays I’ve experienced.

I have so much weighing on me. I have no clue where I’ll be living in 4 months. I have stupid hospital bills still to pay. Oh…that reminds me of a very…I don’t know how to explain it…sharp, stabbing (?) truth that my pastor spoke about today. Shame. I hate that word, but it’s been my life for over a year now. I felt it’s weight and all that comes with it from who my father is and the terrible things my family did to cover it up. For months, I tried with my therapist to convince myself that the shame I felt belonged to my father, not me. That it belonged to my family who wronged me, not me. And then came the hospitalization. And I had no idea how devastating and shattering that shame could be. I never thought of it before because I never imagined it would happen. But now I have my own shame to carry in that. It’s mine, not my dad’s nor my family’s. I was the one hospitalized, not them. I’m the one who carries the stigma, no one else. My pastor said that shame is the most devastating of human emotions. I would agree. It makes me feel like I can’t recover. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough and never will be. It makes me understand why people don’t love me and care for me. It makes me understand why my own parents and grandparents didn’t.

I’ve been struggling to breathe under this new shame. Only one person told me that being hospitalized doesn’t define me. I find that so, so hard to believe. I’m trying to cling to that, thinking that I can move on. But, I think I’m only fooling myself. It’s not like I can forget being hospitalized and what it’s done to me. It has literally damaged my psyche. And I’m afraid that’s permanent.

I was afraid the damage done from my perpetrators was permanent. I know God is able to heal. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t. Why does he let people die? Why does he let people suffer? Why doesn’t he heal everyone and show us his love and compassion in that way? Why is it rare that God will do this? I don’t know. And that’s part of why I think praying is useless. God will do what he wants to do. It’s not like you’re going to change his mind! But even with that, and I feel terribly guilty about doubting God’s goodness, I’ve been praying a little lately. I’ve asked God to help me find a safe place to live. I’ve been asking him to take care of my 911 friend and his family. I’ve been asking God to heal my Madagascar friend’s marriage. (They’re good, they just need a little repairing and they’re working on it.) That brings me to another topic. My isolation and lack of connection to people. My Madagascar friend has been writing a little bit every few days to me. He’s shared that he’s in counseling with his wife and he’s shared some of his own weaknesses and struggles. I am so grateful for that. Him being open with me makes me feel connected. It’s given me something (besides myself) to bring before God. I’m so grateful that our friendship is slowly blooming again. I don’t think I’ve seen this guy in 16 years… we went to Madagascar in 2000, I think and we saw each other maybe a year or so after that. I’m grateful that he hasn’t thrown me away as a friend because I was hospitalized. I’m grateful that he still trusts me. He trusts me enough to share his struggles with and not only is that opening a two way street, but like I said, it makes me feel connected to another human being. I can’t believe how much I lack that. It’s unreal.

Published February 22, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I am so fucking miserable. I have a terrible headache and I generally feel like shit. No energy. Not even to write..

Today I wept multiple times. I held my dog and looked him in his eyes and begged him to never leave me. I told him l loved him and I’d take care of him forever. I know that’s a lie though. One day, I’ll have to go through the excruciating pain of having to put him down.

He’s the ONLY thing I have in this fucked up life. No one understands that. No one understands what it’s like to go home every day to an empty house, to eat every single meal alone, to talk to no one but myself. I used to have a few friends but they’re all too busy. I have nothing and no one. I am nothing and no one.

I went to church on Sunday and was almost immediately overcome by sadness. I cried there again. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. For a few days there, I was going to abandon my desert plans for spring break. Now I’m back to them.

I remember my pastor did a great sermon that day, but now I can’t remember what it was about. I think it had something to do with- when there are bad times, God still works where you are? I’m not sure if that’s right, but I think it was something like that. That God can still use you even when you’re a mess and everything in life seems like a mess. Obviously, it resonated with me. I thought of the young people I work with. I thought of how 3 of them have come to me this year sharing their stories of having been raped. I wondered why God was doing that. How can I help them when I can’t even help myself? How can I encourage them when I don’t believe my own life will ever get better? How can I inspire them when I’m beyond ready to permanently call it quits?

After finding out that 22% of the young people I work with have been sexually assaulted, I struggled to find what I could do to help them. How could I support them? I refuse to just let them go unsupported and unloved. Not only would that be cruel, it would be negligent (imho). We created a visual of the 22%. It came out looking like more because they wanted to honor those whom they knew who had also been assaulted. Here is what we made:

It’s just post-it notes. The lighter color represents a kid who has never experienced and doesn’t know anyone who’s been sexually assaulted in some way. The darker ones represent a kid who has been sexually assaulted or who knows someone. On their post-it note, wrote their gender and their age when it occurred. That way, they could be represented without losing their anonymity. If they made a post-it note to represent someone they knew, then they wrote their relation on it, also maintaining anonymity. Some kids told me they were ok with writing their names…but I want to make sure they’re protected. So I explained that even though they were incredibly brave, I thought it would be safer to not do that.

I still needed to support these kids. The truth is God gave them to me to take care of and to love. I’m going to do that until the day I die. We brainstormed about how we could support each other without knowing who the victims actually were. One idea was to hear their stories. They wanted people who had been violated to write out their stories so we could read them. If we do that, it will be done on a voluntary basis. Some might not be ready to share their stories for years. Another idea was for everyone to write a letter of support and encouragement to those who had been violated. These are some of the letters:

I salute everyone for their compassion in reaching out to others who have been hurt. I want to copy all of these letters and somehow get a stack of these to each person who has been sexually assaulted. Some might not be ready to read them right away. Some might keep them and read them whenever they feel lonely or sad. Some might read them over and over. I remember my 911 friend was super encouraging to me multiple times. Occasionally, when I feel terrible, I’ll go back and find his text that said “you’re not alone” over and over again. Occasionally, I’ll also listen to a prayer he recorded. That really calms me and helps me fall asleep. 😂 It’s just so calming that I usually don’t hear the end of it…I must be asleep by then. But I was hoping that these letters of support are something the kids could keep and pull out to read again whenever they feel they need it.

Speaking of sleep, last night was the first night in over a year and a half that I slept through the night!! Ok, I didn’t exactly sleep all the way through…I woke up twice, but promptly fell right back asleep. I couldn’t believe it when my alarm actually woke me up this morning. I was shocked. I still felt exhausted as hell, but I slept. Whoa. I’m pretty sure lack of sleep is part of why my brain has turned to mush.

Back to my kids, I don’t know what else I can do to help them. I went to my boss and asked for support for them and I made connections with free counseling and therapy options for them as well. But if they’re anything like me, not only will they need a huge push, but they’ll need more. I’ve offered myself to be there for them if they ever need to talk. And many of them offered themselves in their letters- they even gave contact info. I’m going to try to keep thinking for them- to see what else I can do to help them. What my pastor talked about- God using us in the midst of our own pain and suffering- it made me think of these kids. I’ll do what I can to help them, but I don’t think it will ever be enough.

I feel guilty for wanting to give up. What would that look like to those kids? They don’t even know my story. They wouldn’t understand why I did something like that. And that brings me back to the “lost hiker” thing I’d probably run with. That way, no one would truly know.

That kind of parallels my life anyway. So few really know me and my story. The few who do have a tendency to either walk out or give up on me. I’d give up on me too- I’m surely NOT placing blame. I appreciate EVERY LITTLE THING that’s been done to help me. It means the world to me. It’s stopped me in my tracks and made me second guess myself so many times (in a healthy way). But eventually it wears thin and runs out. No one can sustain another forever. I think that’s why I don’t have a significant other. I know no one can handle this giant mess that is me. It’s not fair to expect anyone to.

I have someone who’s been casually pursuing me for a while now. First of all, just the fact that it’s casual makes me feel unimportant. Second, it is long distance. He lives across the country and our communication is sporadic at best. Additionally, just when we were about to have a deep conversation (prompted by me), he dipped out. Like…literally ran out!! 😂 I kid you not. We were having a beer and as soon as the conversation turned heavy, he jumped up out of his seat, got the bill and paid for it and said we were moving down the block to a restaurant to go eat. I remember thinking…wow. I need someone with a backbone who can handle this stuff. I need someone who can actually be there for me. I don’t need someone who’s going to run when conversation turns heavy. Am I being too cut and dry thinking like that? Am I expecting too much? I mean, this is someone I’ve known since we were teenagers…it’s not like we’re in the “getting to know you” phase.

This just makes me feel he’s not the one…or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not ready to be in a relationship. For a while now, I’ve thought that I would be useless in a relationship…that I’m empty and I have nothing to offer, nothing to give. I had already kind of decided I just wasn’t in a space where I was relationship material. I’m still thinking that way.

I’m useless to everyone.

Everyone.

FTL. I don’t want God to be mad at me. And I’m so, so thankful for when I see God working in my life or in others’ lives… but FTL. I am so over it.